Tensions are running high in the Air House.
Location: Air House
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 335
The house isn't quite full. One or two people, apparently, won the lottery right off the bat. Or perhaps this particular spot won't end up packed out like some of the other base houses. There's still a few boxes inside the door; either those not yet grabbed or those that aren't being bothered with until the carrier is ready. After all, certain things (like dress blues) won't be necessary for the week. The place is already sort of a mess... okay, the kitchen is. But then, how many of them are used to dealing with a kitchen? The CAP schedule is on the 'fridge. The 'fridge itself seems to be half-beer and half real food. Three guesses who got that sussed out.
Alain's stuff had been set on a bed at the outset. Maybe it got moved by someone wanting to claim the bed for themselves. Maybe not. There was, however, at some point, a brown-paper wrapped addition to it with a note of 'Welcome "home" ~Nova' added to the pile.
The Raptor pilot herself has just gotten back from CAP and is in the kitchen after a quick shower. She's changed into shorts and a t-shirt because there's no frakkin' way she's wearing the heavier duty attire on Scorpia. Nope. The smell of sausage cooking permeates the small house as she cooks. Cabinets open and close every so often, punctuating the woman's quiet singing. In Scorpian, as usual.
One of the 'lucky' ones -- Alain having won one of the first passes to visit home -- the Gemenese man's been absent while the Timber Wolves settled back into Scorpia. He hasn't got much with him when he arrives -- a backpack slung over his shoulder and box carried carefully in his arms -- he lets himself get directed to base housing where apparently his things from the Vanguard are waiting. It takes him a little back and forth, up and down, to locate his items, grinning at the note before he carefully deposits his box and backpack onto the cot. Finally, he finds his way to the kitchen, leaning against the doorframe. He's dressed in jeans and a plain white t-shirt.
If he opens the package the note is scribbled on -- just the bag from the store -- Alain will find it's a book on important religious locations on Scorpia. From more tribal, animalism ritual and temple sites to those dedicated to the Lords of Kobol. Complete with full-color photography.
Whatever Astraea is singing, it's not the sort of lullaby she goes for in her Raptor, but it's not upbeat either. By way of traditional musical structure, it's almost a dirge. She's turning to the 'fridge, hand on the door, when she notices Alain. The singing stops and her features brighten. The jar she had in hand is deposited within as she steps back, rubbing her hands at her thighs. "Hey, welcome back. How're yer folks?"
"That sounds especially sad for someone who's on shore leave on their home planet," Alain observes with a wry smile, straightening as Astraea notices him. He steps into the kitchen, breathing in deeply, gaze drawn to whatever's cooking, before he answers: "Oh, you know. Mother's proud. My brothers are busy with their own lives. My father's... my father," with a twitch of lips, both accepting and at ease. "How's things been settling back here? I see at least some of my stuff made it. I heard rumors about how badly damaged the Vanguard was." He grimaces, almost like he was fond of that tiny ship.
"This place doesn't hold th' best memories for me, Jigger," Astraea admits in a quiet voice. She grabs at the 'fridge door, opening it to lean in and grab a couple beers. She holds one out in offer to him. Maybe he doesn't have CAP first thing! Or the quals. For her, it's sleeping in and then quals. If he doesn't, she'll put it back. Either way, once her off-hand is free, she grabs a container of rice. "Lotsa folks puttin' in as much... forgettin' of Picon as they can," she says after a breath held to consider her words. When he mentions the Vanguard, she gives a small nod. "It's... not goin' back out, sounds like. Ever. Which is a damn shame for a ship that served us so well."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Alain says, genuinely. "I guess it's time to make new ones," he says with a smile, as he accepts the offered beer. "Yeah," he exhales, smile fading away. "Picon was... not good. I'm glad I got some time at home. It's peaceful -- it feels so distant from the war," he says, rubbing at his chin for a moment before he takes a gulp from the bottle. He grimaces again at her update on the Vanguard. "It's hard to get away from people there," he admits, "Which at first I didn't like, but... I got used to it, I guess."
"Is that an offer to help with those?" Astraea takes a drink of her own before setting the beer aside and moving to dump the rice into a pot, dropping a lid atop. Sausage and rice; smells good, but it's a simple meal. "'Cause I could use some new memories. Better than waking up remembering explosions and smoke and-" She stops in the midst of dragging down bowls, suppressing a shudder. Turning back to Jigger, she's put on a smile for him, but it falters all the same. Likely on the Vanguard's loss. It was the only ship she knew with the Wolves. She never got to see the Galactica. "It'll be strange, bein' on a new ship. I am glad we'll have more birds though. We've needed 'em. Bigger wings means more coverage in combat."
Aubrey veritably stumbles into the Air House. She is inebriated. Not blindly so, yet, but getting close. That Cadmus clan really knows how to throw a wedding shower. She's in shorts and a tank top with sandals, her hair done and makeup on, and still has a plastic disposable cup of booze in one hand, mostly empty. She's humming some terrible Scorpia pop song that was playing at the party. "Whoa, hey there chair, move out of the way, I'm coming through!" she declares to the inanimate object.
There's a brief twitch of lips. "I don't know that I'll be much help on that score. But if history's any guess there'll be plenty of parties to go around -- especially after the award ceremony." He takes another gulp from the bottle while Astraea tends to her pot. "Strange," he agrees, "But being in a new place isn't so bad. Changing it up a bit. Hope the new ship has a chapel as nice as Vanguard's. Be nice to have our names on a plane," Jigger adds. He half turns from the middle of the kitchen when he hears a familiar voice. "Banshee?" he calls, bemused, glancing at Astraea, like she might know what's going on. He's literally just arrived.
There's some adjustment of the items on the stove. Her dinner, post-CAP, with enough to share with most of the house should people wish. Astraea turns back to Alain a his words and reaches a hand towards his shoulder, fingertips light: "Jigger, you help more than you know-" but the stumbling in draws her to a stop as she moves a few steps further to stand alongside him to catch sight of who has come in. "I don't-" and then she recalls. Ah! The party she missed due to said CAP. "The doctor- the married one." She doesn't know Eli personally. "There was a party. Guessin' she went." Plastic cup is a giveaway of 'party' versus 'club' after all.
"Did you just say my name, chair? Man, that was some good booze," Aubrey mumbles to the chair as she moves past it and shuffles over to the couch, where she's been sleeping, and begins to put her odds and ends back into the box beside it.
There's a slight shift of expression, brow furrowing briefly, Alain glancing from Astraea to the doorway. "I missed a party?" he says, not seeming too upset. He sets down his beer on the table and moves towards the doorway of the lounge, eyeing the newly arrived pilot. "Yes, I said your name," Alain adds, lifting hands to his lips to make his voice sound more 'booming', "And I, the chair, suggest you sleep, Banshee." He tosses a grin over his shoulder at Astraea. Maybe it'll work?
There's a snort of amusement from Astraea who shoves, playfully, at Alain's shoulder as he takes on the role of 'chair.' She takes a drink from her own beer as she turns back into the kitchen. The food is checked on before she grabs a cup -- plastic -- from the cabinet and fills it wth water. Soon she's back out in the lounge and steps up just behind Jigger and by his shoulder. She leans up against him a bit, holding up the cup where he can see. In a low voice (so as to not interrupt his prank) she offers: "We'll wanna get her t'drink this."
"I'm gunna!" Aubrey replies to the booming voice. "After I move out of here and get a hotel room!" She sets her things into the box one and a time. "Can't sleep here no more!" She picks the box up, putting it in her lap, and taking a long pause to catch her breath from the clearly difficult and strenuous task of packing up her few things. Good booze indeed.
"Don't think the chair's that convincing," Alain replies in a rueful, soft voice to Astraea. Still, he regards Aubrey again. "Of course you can!" The chair/Alain booms. "I will make sure there are presents for you when you wake." Surely that's as compelling an argument as any chair could make. He gestures towards Astraea (more specifically, the glass she's holding) and cautiously advances on Aubrey.
There's an arch of brow at the wailing from Aubrey and Astraea hesitates for a moment. She looks to Jigger and shrugs, "Chairs can be very convincin'. Ever sat in onna th' big, plushy ones in libraries? They convince me sleep is a grand idea even in th' middle of th day." Even so, she allows herself to be urged forward. The cup of water is extended -- carefully, lest there be any flailing limbs -- towards the other Viper pilot. "Th' chair," she opines, "thinks y'oughta drink some water. Fer... optimal performance at qualifications."
Aubrey glances up and spots the pair and snorts. "Hah! Very funny Alain Tomlinson! You're not allowed to give me presents anymore, Jigger. Your girlfrienddoesn't like it," she says as she waves off the water and grabs up a cute little plushie shark holding a surfboard. Then she stands, wobbles, but rights herself, and begins heading for the door with her sad little box of crap and the stuffed toy under one arm.
Alain grins a little at Astraea's words, using his booming 'chair' voice to echo, "Drink the water. Drink the waaaater!" But, well, then they're busted, and Jigger looks entirely unrepentant. "Of course I am! I brought the finest Gemenese wine, as promised, and--" he breaks off at Aubrey's latter words, dumbfounded. "My what? Wait, Banshee!" he strides forward to try and catch Aubrey, by arm if he can.
At the accusations, Astraea looks almost like she's been hit. The woman falls back on her heels and just stares at Aubrey for a long moment. There's a dark look that crosses her features as she takes in a breath, but whatever she was about to say... the Scorpian manages to hold back the initial flood of anger that washes over her and just turns towards the kitchen. The cup lands on the counter hard enough for water to slosh over the edge, but she just applies herself to finishing up dinner... albeit with a bit more banging about than strictly necessary.
Aubrey is not very fast in her drunken state, so Jigger catches her arm easily. "Leggo. I'm getting out of your way and stuff!" she declares. "Tired of her dirty looks. Claiming your bed. Being in charge of your stuff. So she can be your wingman and stuff too," she mutters and tries to jangle her arm out of his grasp.
"Banshee, what are you even...?" Alain comes to a halt as he catches Aubrey's arm, hopefully halting her, too. He glances back towards Astraea, maybe in time to see that expression, maybe not. He's certainly all-too-aware of the banging that shortly ensures from the kitchen. "Frak, Bree. I'm not dating anyone. Okay?" he says it loudly, pointedly. "Nova and I are friends. I'm not going to stop being your wingman. Just... sit down, okay? Here, let me take that for you," he reaches to try and take Aubrey's box of stuff from her.
"Pretty sure, SHE thinks you belong to her," Aubrey says through gritted teeth. He gets the box away from her leaving her with her shark plushie. "I'm going to a hotel where I can sleep in an actual bed and not get shivved in my sleep by a jealous person."
The door to the small condo rattles as Kell tries to work the key before getting it right on the third try, after turning it over again. He then opens the door to the Air Wing house and steps in, seeing Astraea sitting on the floor. The aroma of food hits his nose first and he smiles, tossing the Raptor pilot a rhetorical, teasing question, "Did you miss the chair or something, Nova?" He has a duffel bag slung over his shoulders, not boxes or plastic crates, which means that his stuff hasn't come in yet. Very delayed. Before he asks or says anything else, Razor takes a few steps towards the room he is sharing with Isolde and Van before hearing words being exchanged in the other room, slowing his steps.
Alain makes a frustrated noise, though he manages to refrain from eye-rolling. "Bree, c'mon. I'm sure if you two just sit down and talk, everything will be fine. But, uh, okay, maybe not now," when Aubrey's considerably drunk. "Promise you'll come by the house tomorrow? We have to sort out a time to go surfing. Plus, I have presents for you." With a glance over his shoulder, he says, "Let me carry this outside for you. I'll wait with you for your ride."
It's those final words, 'shivved in my sleep.' Kell gets to pay witness to it. The full breadth of just how hard that hits Nova. The woman goes pale and deflates, like everything's been taken out of her. She had the beer halfway to her lips and it just fumbles away. She doesn't even noticed she's dropped it until it's too late. It's spilled and clattered away and she's blind to even recovering it, though she tries. She can't see through the haze of tears covering her eyes. Ones she tries, through the angle of her head, to hide from the Libran. "S-sure," she answers him, though the wobble in her voice absolutely destroys any attempt at levity. She's completely falling apart now. Every last shred of composure she had is gone.
Aubrey grunts at the suggestion from Alain and looks like she'd rather eat glass, but, she is very drunk. "Whatever, I just want to go." She weeble wobbles her way to the door and through it after a short-lived argument with the doorknob. There is a hotel shuttle waiting patiently to pick her up. "Don't drop the box. Camera in it," she slurs.
Kell's gaze is towards the bedroom where two people seem to be having a heated conversation but then the sound of the beer falling draws his attention back to Astraea, "Uhh, Nova..." That is when he realizes that something is going on. Setting his duffel bag onto the ground, he goes to right the spilt beer can so it stops spilling itself on the floor. Then he goes towards the kitchen to get some paper towels though his steps slow again when he sees a very drunk Aubrey and Alain come from the room. Questions are unasked for now though the tension and emotional atmosphere is obvious now to the usually aloof Ensign, at least when it comes to stuff like this.
There's a little grimace from Alain and a shift of position like he desperately wants to help Aubrey with the door before she finally manages to get it open. He's silent while he walks alongside Aubrey, hopping in the shuttle to set down her box somewhere safe. "Bree..." he begins, and then just shakes his head. "I'll call you tomorrow, okay?" Stepping back, he moves towards the driver, murmuring, "Make sure the Lieutenant gets safely to the hotel, please?" There's a little exchange, possibly some Scorpian currency involved, before he steps off the shuttle and waits to see them off.
"If I remember," Aubrey says in a petulant tone. But in truth, she may not remember this even happened, by the time she finishes drinking in her hotel room. "Bye." She closes the shuttle door and leans back against the seat for the ride.
"What." The word comes flat from Astraea. She's fighting to draw up walls; to fight it all back and those walls come with anger instead of the fear that sent her pale to begin with. It doesn't come all at once, but it does make the word come out a bit sharper than intended. When she looks up, there's damp streaks down both cheeks and damp spots on her top and shorts. She does, finally, see the spill and her breath catches. "Shit." She sets aside her second beer and her meal, moving to her feet and extending a hand for the towels to take them from Kell. "I'm sorry."
Watching Alain and Aubrey head outside to the waiting shuttle, Kell returns to what he was originally going to do. Grabbing several sheets of paper towels before coming back, handing some of them over to Astraea so she can clean herself up with it and then he begins wiping the floor. He has questions but isn't sure how to ask them as these kinds of situations is definitely not his forte. Choosing cleaning up the beer as an excuse to remain silent, it looks like Razor is waiting for Alain to come back.
It's another minute or so before Alain comes back in, expression composed in a way that's deliberately neutral. He steps back towards the kitchen, halting in the doorway to take in the scene -- Astraea, on the floor, the spilled beer, and her expression -- Kell, trying to clean up. He steps towards the stove, making sure the food isn't burning, before rocking back on his heels, feeling useless in a way that is expressed by the hesitation in his posture. He doesn't seem quite sure how to act, either.
Trying to clean herself off is pretty much pointless, but Astraea looks up as Alain returns. She bends to pick up her other beer and her dinner. Both are set on a counter. "All I did," she offers flatly, "is tell her we shouldn't go through your things. She was wantin' t'verify it all made it over from th' Vanguard. If... that was wrong, 'm sorry. I just... didn't think it right to go through someone else's stuff. Woulda said th' same fer anyone." Her shoulders drop and she drops the paper towels to the counter, hands coming up to her face. "I'd never, ever hurt onna y'all. Please believe me."
Drying off all of the beer that has spilt onto the floor, Kell balls up the now wet paper towels and then rises to his feet again so he can head to the kitchen to clean up. Hearing Astraea's explanation of things doesn't exactly clear up the confusion that hovers over Razor who stepped into the condo in the middle of what happened. After throwing out the paper towels and washing his hands, he goes to where Alain is watching the food, "I got this, Jigger, I think you should go to talk to Nova, I'll come by when I pull this from the stove and plated." Did he just throw Alain under the bus? Poor Jigger.
Alain shakes his head for a moment, then stops, picks up his beer, and pauses as Razor stops to talk to him. "It's fine, it won't burn." He's, perhaps deliberately, misunderstanding Kell. "I ate in transit, so I'm good." He steps over and sinks into a chair at the table, taking a gulp of beer before running a hand through his hair, gaze flickering towards Astraea as she talks. After a moment, he says, "I think it's more than that, Nova. Why would she think we were dating?" he shakes his head, obviously bemused. "I think you two might need to talk it out... when she's sober." Clearly, he thinks him not being involved is the best choice, Razor's advice or no.
"Because she's tryin' to force ya into makin' a decision," Astraea says, through her teeth. She swallows, arms dropping to her sides. She's fighting back the frustration again. "She's manipulatin' ya, can't ya see that? I toldja she's into ya, Alain." Anger, fear, and just utter terror all at war with one another. "She's makin' it so you have ta either be with her or never, ever with anyone else." She takes a deep breath, shaking her head. "She'll never listen to me. She hates everythin' I am."
Alain may not be hungry but after smelling the sausage cooking, Kell certainly was. It was only the unexpected situation that delayed the young pilot's attack on whatever was cooking. So while Jigger is drinking his beer and offering his take on the situation, Razor grabs a plate and begins scooping a bit of whatever is in the pan out. Then he grabs a bottle of water, the filled plate, and moves to join both Alain and Astraea, "However this is resolved, it needs to happen quick and quietly... this can't get to the Major's ears or I'm not sure what would happen." The erosion of trust between squadronmates is a very serious issue, especially in such a brutal combat zone like Picon. Plus there was the talk of one pilot possibly knifing another, which Kell won't even touch right now. Hearing Astraea's word though, Razor frowns, "Maybe we need to get Doctor Anders involved before it gets any worse?"
"You've got the wrong idea, Nova. We're friends -- we're both clear on that." Alain sounds sure about that, if nothing else. "She's not--" he takes a breath. "She was drunk, Nova. You're making it out to be worse than it is. She's not manipulating me." He exhales a sharp breath as Kell talks of bringing in the doctor, making a face. "I hope he won't hear it from you, Razor," he says, glancing at the other pilot. "Picon was awful. It sucked for all of us. But we don't go around threatening to rat on our fellow squadmates."
"No, no-" Astraea misunderstands Kell, it'd seem, her eyes widening a measure. "I don't need t'see Doctor Anders. I'm not gonna hurt her. I'm not. Please." She blinks rapidly, fighting back tears again. She lifts her hands to press the heels of her palms to her eyes, her shoulders shaking. "I dunno where she got that from. I'm..." And she just can't find further words, backing out of the kitchen in slow steps.
There is a shake of head from Kell as he doesn't dig into the food just yet, "Right now, no Jigger, he won't hear it from me. But if this gets out of hand and it affects us on a mission, then the Doctor and Major will hear about it." It sounds like the younger pilot is choosing where to draw the line and stand his ground, "If it is like you said, not a big deal, then it'll blow over." If not... unseen consequences would occur. Kell then looks at Astraea and shakes his head, "No, Nova, nothing about hurting another person, come sit down again. But the doctor probably has experience on dealing with with issues of trust, misunderstandings, and possible emotional conflicts. Baggage we /can't/ have when we're in the middle of a war. We need to be able to know that we can trust each other up there, one-hundred percent of the time, without a shred of doubt." The latter part is said when Razor looks back to Jigger.
Another exhale, and a murmur of words that might be familiar as a prayer comes from Alain. "Nova," he says, helplessly, as she makes to leave, but he doesn't get up. Instead, he takes another long swallow from his bottle, before standing to set it on the edge of the sink. "I'm not sure what you're trying to imply, Razor, but I trust Nova and Banshee completely, and I trust them to do their jobs, regardless of anything else that might be happening." And apparently he considers that all that needs to be said, especially on the heels of Razor's other words, since he walks out to go unpack his things.
"Please don't fight-" Astraea stops her walking away, shoulders dropping and hands falling too. "Please. I can't handle it anymore. I can't." She's shaking; trembling all over and unable to even look at them. "I ain't that sorta person anymore." Anymore? "But Jigger, if she's so... so possessive of ya that she's gonna make shit up an' all like that to make sure no one else can be near ya, I dunno how... how we can even be friends."
Since Alain considers the issue closed for now, Kell doesn't disagree or hound the more senior pilot to explain himself on what he may have been implying. Instead, he just forks himself a little bit of what is in his plate for a bite, the high point now with what has just transpired. Astraea's words leaves Razor unable to answer as he had already said his piece and anything further, he has no solutions for, or advise which may be unwanted at this point. "Maybe Jigger is right, that she was just so drunk she didn't know what she was saying." Those words were perhaps spoken to convince himself more than Nova, "I'm gonna go put my spare uniforms away, my stuff hasn't found its way here from the Vanguard yet." He's hoping there is no mix-up at this point. Kell does stand, tucking the water bottle under his arm before grabbing the plate, then he heads over to where he left his duffel bag so he can carry everything into the room he's sharing with Van and Isolde.
"Nova, you don't have to be friends," Alain says, as he pauses in the doorway. "I'm not friends with everyone on the squad. It doesn't mean I wouldn't try my hardest to save their ass, if the opportunity arose. I don't know what was said between you two, but you need to sort it out -- without me -- because you're both my friend." Alain retreats to go digs around in his meagre clothes he's brought with him from Gemenon, finally finding something clean to wear, before he disappears into the bathroom for a shower.
Left alone, Astraea just crumbles. She sinks against the doorframe to the kitchen for a long moment, staring after the two Viper pilots. She scrubs at one eye again before turning to the 'fridge. It takes her a moment of scrabbling against the door over it due to her short stature, but she finally gets access to it and drags down a bottle of rum. Before she's even made it to the room she's staying in, she's opened it and begun drinking. Someone else is trying to forget the night's events....